When you don’t want to cook, but you still want a delicious hot meal, make sloppy Joe pizza! With this copycat recipe, you can turn a simple sandwich into a pizza extravaganza.
Sloppy Joe sandwiches are an American cafeteria staple. They’ve even shown up in movies like “Citizen Kane” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”!
A basic sloppy joe sandwich is made from ground beef cooked in a sweet tomato sauce, and brown sugar, vinegar, and other seasonings add additional flavor. Then, you spoon this mixture on a bun or roll, and enjoy your messy meal!
I love taking this historic dish and combining it with another classic: pizza! Italian immigrants brought pizza to the US, and it’s been a favorite ever since.
To make this meal easy, you can use prepared pizza dough, such as Pillsbury pizza crust. Then, top that with your ground beef sauce and mozzarella cheese. Yum!
All About Sloppy Joe Pizza Ingredients
Ground beef doesn’t come from one part of a cow – it’s usually a mix of different cuts ground together. While you can get specific cuts ground up, many times ground beef is simply a beef mixture.
If you prefer a specific cut of meat, you can look for ground brisket (chest), shank (legs), round (rump), sirloin (loin), or others.
One good way to determine the right cut of meat for yourself is to look at the fat ratio. If you look for packages labeled “extra-lean,” the fat content will be less than 5% in your meat.
However, other ground beef mixtures have much higher fat ratios. And this fat adds extra flavor to the product.
As well, keep in mind that some cuts that go into ground beef can be quite tough. But the grinding process makes them much more tender, so you don’t have to chew very hard!
McCormick Sloppy Joes Seasoning Mix
This seasoning mix is the main flavoring (besides tomatoes) in the sloppy Joe sauce. The base is sugar, salt, and cornstarch, with spices such as onion, garlic, paprika, chile peppers, and bell peppers.
It’s a lot easier than buying individual spices, and it’s great for dinner recipes that take less than 20 minutes!
For this recipe, you mix it with tomato sauce or tomato paste and water. But you can add this mix to other dishes for a burst of flavor, too!
Pillsbury Pizza Crust
Most supermarkets carry pre-made pizza crusts, and Pillsbury is one of the best-known brands of pizza dough. When you bake the crust yourself, it tastes a lot better than the pre-baked crusts!
You can find packages of Pillsbury pizza dough in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. So, all you have to do is unroll and bake it!
Prebake your pizza dough for about 8 minutes, and then you can add toppings. Finally, follow the instructions to finish baking your pizza, and you’ve got an amazing meal!
Since the dough isn’t frozen, it’s quick to use and tastes fresh. It’s a very versatile option for fast weeknight meals.
Tomato paste is just made of tomatoes, but they’re highly concentrated. Manufacturers cook tomatoes down, strain out the skin and seeds, and then continue cooking them.
When they’re done, the tomatoes are so dense they’ve become a paste. This paste is highly-flavorful, full of umami, and quite acidic.
Therefore, you only need to use a little bit of tomato paste to pack a punch. So, cans of it are usually much smaller than cans of crushed or stewed tomatoes.
While tomato paste is useful, you need to prepare it properly for it to taste amazing. And the secret to that is caramelization.
When you cook tomato paste in fat, the sugars in it will start to caramelize after about 5 minutes. Then, the mixture will turn dark and stick to the skillet.
Once it sticks, just deglaze the pan with plain water or another liquid and you have an awesome sauce base.
If you add pure tomato paste to your sloppy Joe sauce, you’ll get some tomato flavor, but it won’t taste nearly as nice.
Also, you can use tomato paste in tons of other dishes – not just on pizza or in pasta sauce! It brings incredible flavor to sauces, soups, marinades, chilis, braised meats, and sauteed vegetables.
And you can add it to your regular pizza sauce for extra oomph!
If you’re really in a pinch, you can use condensed tomato soup in this recipe. But you’ll need to adjust the seasonings.
You can’t have pizza without cheese, right? But there are so many options to choose from!
My favorite cheeses for this recipe are pepper Jack and Colby.
Pepper Jack is a spicy, buttery, semi-soft type of Monterey Jack. It’s delicious in hamburgers or quesadillas, and it often has spices or veggies mixed into it.
Colby tastes similar to cheddar, but it’s softer and milder. And, you’ll frequently see it mixed with cheeses like Monterey Jack: that’s called Colby Jack.
However, you can also use cheddar or mozzarella if those are easier to find. Mozzarella has a mild, milk flavor, and it’s a bit chewy.
Fresh mozzarella isn’t cured – it’s just made from fresh cheese curds. Manufacturers stretch the curds, roll them up, and then pack them in water.
But when you melt mozzarella, it gets very stringy and stretchy. And this gives pizza its characteristic strands when you pull a slice from a pie.
Cheddar, on the other hand, is aged and tastes much stronger than mozzarella. But you can find milder versions or very sharp ones.
As well, the older the cheddar cheese is, the drier and crumblier it gets. And, you can find it in both white and orange varieties.
Easy Tips for the Best Sloppy Joe Pizza
To keep your pizza from getting soggy, saute your toppings. This is particularly important for vegetables that have a lot of water in them, such as mushrooms.
As well, make sure you properly saute the ground beef for the sloppy Joe meat. That way, it won’t make the crust wet or greasy.
Make Dough From Scratch
Rather than buying pizza crust dough, make your own! It’s especially easy if you own a bread maker.
Simply combine 2 ¾ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon (or 1 packet) of yeast, 1 tablespoon of butter, and 1 cup of your favorite beer. With these ingredients, you can make a 14- to 16-inch deep dish pizza.
Buy Shop Dough
If you don’t want to make your own, but you still want that homemade flavor, buy pre-made dough from a pizza shop. This dough has already been proofed, so it’s ready to go and just as easy as using a can of Pillsbury.
Choose Your Toppings
I like to put corn on my sloppy Joe pizza, but you can add any toppings you like! For instance, veggies such as bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, or jalapeños would taste great.
Or, you can turn it into a meat-lover’s pizza with pepperoni slices.
Add a Kick of Flavor
There are a couple of seasonings that will boost the flavor of this dish.
First, I adore garlic, and I love adding it to everything. For some extra garlic flavor in this dish, sprinkle the uncooked pizza dough with garlic salt before you bake it.
Also, you can add a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the sloppy Joe meat. This will give you a greater depth of flavor, but also increase the salt content.
Sloppy Joe Pizza Recipe
- Prep Time10 min
- Cook Time30 min
- Total Time40 min
- Yield1 12-inch pizza
- Cook Beef
First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Then, set your stove to medium-high heat and let your skillet warm up.
Add the ground beef and saute it thoroughly. Next, drain the fat from the pan before continuing.
- Season Meat
Now, sprinkle the seasoning mix over the meat, and add the tomato paste and water to the pan. Stir everything together and bring it to a boil.
Then, turn the heat down to low, and let the beef mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. And make sure you stir it every few minutes.
Finally, add the corn and stir everything together.
- Assemble Pizza
Unroll your pizza crust and put it on your baking sheet or pizza stone. Next, spread the sloppy Joe sauce evenly on top.
Then, sprinkle on the cheese.
Put your sloppy Joe pizza in the oven and bake it for about 12-15 minutes. At this point, the cheese will have melted, and the crust will be golden.
For an elegant touch, sprinkle the green onions on top as a garnish. Then, slice the pizza and dig in!
How to Store Sloppy Joe Pizza
According to the FDA, your sloppy Joe leftovers (or any cooked meat leftovers) will only last for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. However, you can freeze them for about 3 months.
Therefore, I like to double or triple the sloppy Joe sauce and freeze it in smaller containers. Then, I can take one out and make a quick dinner with a pre-made pizza crust when I get a craving for sloppy Joe pizza!
If you want to freeze pizza dough, you should generally do that after it’s cooked. Unfortunately, raw dough doesn’t freeze very well.
Also, you can keep prepared sloppy Joe pizza for about a year in the freezer, but it won’t taste as good after about 3 months.